The Value of Wealth in Ancient Rome

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The imperial expansion of Rome or in simpler terms the development of the Roman Empire can be associated with the second century BC. Over a relatively short period of time, Rome immensely expanded its territory at a rapid rate. Although the victories in the Second Punic War satisfied Rome, they also motivated them to expend further into their neighbour’s territories and eventually conquer Greece and the North African coast. The Roman Empire became colossal and unstoppable within a blink of a century. Robin Waterfield’s new translation of Plutarch’s original work Roman Lives clarifies the reasons behind this sudden need to grow. The necessity in increase of the common wealth, the lack of available land for the Roman citizen, the safety precaution of having foreign allies and most importantly the constant need in being the most influential empire are among some of the reasons Plutarch provided. The lives of Cato the Elder, Aemilius Paullius, Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus demonstrate specific cases of how these factors affected Rome and caused it to expand its borders. All explanations are valid however, when one looks at the larger picture it becomes clear that the prosperity of the Roman society is in the root of them all. Many factors contribute to the success of a society and determine the supremacy of the entire empire. The most evident of these factors is the common wealth of the population. This wealth is not merely calculated in monetary form but comprises the amount of resources and military power an empire possesses. The endless necessity in an increase of wealth in Rome could have led to the expansion. Since the land was not rich in resources and the soil was not the greatest for agriculture, expansion of the Roman border... ... middle of paper ... ... just material wealth; it gave Rome a status of a dominating figure. It also instilled fear in neighbouring Empires, forcing them to strongly consider an alliance with Rome. Their success was greatly due to the fact that they never underestimated the strength of the enemy, and this helped them gain the land they fought for. All of the conquered land not only served its purpose for the citizens but also was seen as a war trophy for Rome. These are just some of the very many assumptions of why Rome grew and spread so quickly but no matter the nation, location or empire the necessity of having authority over others remains the reason for all expansion. Works Cited Plutarch, Philip A. Stadter, and Robin Waterfield. "Cato The Elder, Aemilius Paullus, Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus." Roman Lives: A Selection of Eight Roman Lives. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999. 3-115. Print.
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